In My Father’s Hands

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him, for He knows how we are formed; He remembers that we are dust.” — Psalm 103:13-14

I still remember how wonderful my relationship with my own father was. He was a man of a good sense of humor. We could laugh together about a lot of things. Since my sister was a girl and my brother was eight years younger than I, there was not a lot he could not share with them at that time. He would always shave and then when he would remember something funny, he would come out and share it with me or we would read the morning paper and laugh at Quino or Mafalda or some other comics in the Colombian papers. One morning he came out of the bathroom and his shaving cream looked different. I said to him, “What’s that on your face?” and he said without a flinch, “Shaving cream, of course!” and then he touched his face and it smelled it and it was tooth paste! So he turns to me and says, “Wow! That is toothpaste! I wonder what I brushed my teeth with!!” And we both laughed and laughed!! Classic dad!

We had a relationship of mutual respect as well. I respected him and he respected me. When he had to discipline me, he would because he knew it was for my good.  He was one of the kindest and generous human beings upon this planet! If he could help someone out, he would. He sacrificed in every way. He could have driven high priced cars like “Beemers” or Benz but he drove Renaults so he could pay for our education.

He was not as comfortable around people with a lot of money but he knew how to connect with everybody. He was easy-going and had a lot of friends. People would warm up to him right away. He was not comfortable pouring out his personal problems with just anyone. He was “burned” several times and has some issues with trust. But he was a very forgiving man.  And he would humble himself if he knew that he had mistake and admit it.

He loved music and the movies. His favorite kind of music was jazz and he had the uncanny ability to recognize almost any jazz song of his time! We would put jazz albums on and a certain track and he would tell us, the artist, the name of the album, who produced it, what year, what side the track and what number on that side! The same with movies, he could tell us who starred in it, who directed it, who produced it, what year, if it won oscars and how many!!

His architectural ability was even more renowned. He was the chief designer of the Contemporary Hotel of Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. He won several awards for his designs, one for the beautification of the City of Bogota in Bogota, Colombia for a commercial center he designed. My favorite is a hotel he designed for a company called Cafam in Melgar, Colombia, which is one of the great post-modern designs in that country.

He was a man of great dreams and legacies. And he did it all for us! His love was so great that he always wanted the best for all of us, including my half sister Laura, who still lives in Colombia.

The best legacy that he left me is how he dealt with HD. He would not mind talking about it but then changed the subject to us and our dreams and ambitions or about music or a movie. He was a man with a great positive attitude. And he was a man of simple faith, “I don’t have all the answers but I know God does.” That is the kind of faith, I want to have.

I have a much clearer view as to what my legacy will be. My father, with just a simple faith, was able to have peace with HD and live and die with dignity. That legacy inspired me to go forward with my illness to leave something behind as well. I have to decided to put these journals in a book form so that they can be used to inspire others in the midst of there suffering as well, including my family.

Randy Alcorn in his new book, “If God is Good:Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil,” writes this: “Sometimes God intervenes by removing our suffering. Often He comforts us in our suffering. Sometimes He holds our hands as He brings us home to the perfect world He’s made for us.”

Praise be to God that whichever He chooses for me, I know it the best for me and all of those surrounding me! And the one thing I know for sure is that He is holding my hand until Jesus comes and I am resurrected into a New Body free from sickness and illness!! I WILL see Him in the morning!!! The Resurrection morning!! No more death!!No more suffering!! No more crying!!No more tears!! Until that time, I rest peacefully in my Father’s hands.

Prayer: Father, You have showed me that love me more than anyone could love me. I thank You for giving me an earthly father who was an inspiration for me and loved me as well. Thank You for Your mercy, grace, steadfast love, and compassion toward. By grace, I have been saved. By grace, if I abide in You, You will give me the strength to live a faithful life. And by grace, I will experience the joy of the hope of the resurrection of a New Body. Let me not forget to that I am walking in Your hands and that You sustain me and give me grace. Amen.”

The True Comforter

“It is finished.” — John 19:30

Since I have made my announcement on Facebook about HD, I have had a few of great responses both on this blog and my facebook. Many people have been very supportive in their entries and for that I want to thank them and God for being there and sharing some words of encouragement. Thank  you for your kind words!

With as many notices that I sent out, I was expecting more responses. I don’t say that with bitterness, I say it as a stated fact. My first and most compelling response came from non-churched agnostic friend who poured his heart out and brought tears to my eyes!! Thank you Eric for such a wonderful note and that it came from your heart!

However, I did not get a lot of responses from church people. Maybe they have read it and have not had time to respond. Or maybe they read and have forgotten to respond, God knows that happens to me a lot. Or maybe they don’t know how to respond because they don’t know what HD is and don’t know what to say to try to comfort me. Being a hospice chaplain helps me understand that people don’t always know how to express their feelings about things. So I tell them that they just need to be honest and say, “I am so sorry that you are going through this and I really don’t know what to say.” And if that person is a Christian, then let them know that you are praying for them as well as their family. Most people understand that it is difficult to cope with suffering in this world and that it takes time to be able to “grieve appropriately” so that doesn’t really bother me.  What bothers me is the fact that I would have hoped that Christians are better equipped to bring comfort in times like these.

Maybe it’s the fact that since I am being so positive about it that it gets them off the hook. Some maybe afraid that they are going to say the wrong things, like Job’s so-called friends and would prefer not to say anything as to not to offend God. When I look back at some of those who have gone through extreme suffering like Joni Ericksson Tada, and her accident that left her crippled at the age of 17 years old, I am reminded that the same thing happened to her: a lot of her friends headed for the hills! It’s not a condemnation. It’s the fact. We as humans are not wired and prepared for illness and death. It makes us very uncomfortable. When I started my training as a chaplain at Valley Baptist Medical Center in South Texas, I remember going home and throwing up for about an hour!! It took me 3 months of ICU and the ER to get rid of that feeling! By the grace of God, I was even able to be present at an autopsy without fainting!!

This is not who we are! We want something better. Sin and suffering are part of life but they have been conquered by Our Lord, Jesus Christ Who was resurrected on the third day with ETERNAL LIFE!! His mission, which was to conquer the devil and his mastery over death, was completed!

“…He (Christ) himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death, He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject of lifelong slavery.” — Hebrews 2:14-15

Even Jesus own disciple, Peter had a hard time accepting His suffering and death. He said to Him, “You can’t do that!! We need You here with us!!” Peter misunderstood Jesus’ mission and purpose. The same happens to us. I have to remind myself that suffering has a purpose in God’s “old earth” and that ultimately it will be gone in the “new earth.” (Rev 21:1-4) Whatever my purpose is here, I have to remember that I need to bring all the glory to God!! My suffering is not my ultimate goal and mission. My goal and mission is to point to God Who sustains me in the midst of it!! I need to remember that even God uses people to comfort me, He is the True Comforter!

Prayer: Father forgive me if I have wasted my time moaning and groaning about myself. Let me focus not on me but on You. Let me bring honor and glory to Your Name. I know that David lamented and suffered while he was being persecuted and Jesus wondered if You had forsaken Him, but in the end they let go and let You take care of them. Help me to remember that You use people to bring me comfort but that ultimately it is You, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Who gives me strength, peace, joy and happiness. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

New Person in Christ Jesus

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17

I am opening up my journal again after two years of being silent. I have posted the annoucement on my facebook and am linking my blog to it. Many may wonder why I have not written anything after a two year silence or chose to wait until now but the truth is that I was still struggling spiritually. I had begun to visit different churches to see if any of them could help me minize my pain and suffering. And I definitely did not want to assist in any church activities or be involved in church ministry because I did not have the spiritual, emotional or physical energy to do so.

I began attending churches that had good Contemporary Chrisitian music services because I really needed to sing. Many of  those songs are praise songs and I needed to remind myself why I can still praise God even in the midst of it all. I attended Northland, which is a local non-denominational church, and the music was great but the message just wasn’t what I needed to hear. I went to several local Seventh-day Adventist churches and I felt a little more at home, but I still wasn’t hearing the Gospel. One day, a member of the Vineyard, Dr.  Jason called me to find out if everything was ok. I shared with him that I was going to a spiritual crisis and needed to journey until I could find myself spiritually. I told him about my condition and he prayed for me. He was the only person from that church who called to see how I was doing. He has the gift of encouragement.

I started to attend Deeper, which is a local adventist church for young people at Forest Lake Academy and I really enjoyed the music and the message but there was still something lacking in the messages. My wife really wanted to go to a church where she knew people and not feel like people were ignoring her, so we started to go back to the Vineyard. Almost after a year of going to and fro we felt back at home. Pastor Richard and Pastor Andrew really have been blessed and are giving great messages. For some reason, the messages were all for me! The Lord started to speak to me through the music and the messages and I was beginning to get revived again. But something was still lacking and I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I had agreed to start helping in the church again so I requested my transfer of membership from Texas.

One day, I heard they that one of their young lay persons, who has been active in the afternoon giving Bible studies in one the most dangerous areas in Orlando, got up to share a message. And he began sharing his testimony about his struggles with alcohol and drugs.  He shared that he had try to overcome those with his own efforts and just could not win. He said that the Lord lead him to a few Scriptures and his eyes were opened. And he began to open up his Bible to Romans 5 and I Corinthians and began to preach the true gospel!! I was stunned!! Here I was looking for someone to preach this wonderful, incredible news in other churches and the Lord brought him to our church!! I was saying amen, back and forth, and thanking God for what He had done for me. This is when I knew it was time to back into the ministry of the churches. Since then we have been involved in the OBT ministries and I have accepted the position of men’s ministries. 

I know that the journey will continue to be an on-going battle because the devil will constantly try to tell me that I am a sinner and unworthy to do God’s work. And he’s right. I am a sinner but in Christ, I am a new man!! The moment I accepted Christ back into my life again, which is by faith, my status changed from being condemned to die to one of justification to life!!

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” — Romans 5:1

Prayer: Lord, thank you for being so patient with me while I had to find my way back into your truth. Thank you for reminding me what the true gospel is and for opening up the doors so I can be part of that ministry as well. Thank for for reminding me that I am a sinner saved only by grace and my status as new creation in Christ will never change as long as I walk by faith in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

On a Positive Note

“You may be going through tough times, or you may have major obstacles in your path, all of which give you good reason to be unhappy or upset. But being unhappy won’t change anything for the better. Being negative and sour isn’t going to improve anything for the better. You might as well choose to be happy and enjoy life! When you do that, not only will you feel better, but your faith will cause God to show up and work wonders in your life. God knows that we have difficulties, struggles, and challenges. But it was never His intention for us to live one day “on cloud nine,” and the next day in the dumps, defeated and depressed because we have problems. God wants us to live consistently. He wants us to enjoy every single day of our lives.” — Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now, pg. 269-270.

As I begin writing today’s entry I have to tell you that I am so much more at peace. I wrote most of what I have posted on my laptop during the first few days and weeks of my experience of learning about my diagnosis and it was pretty raw. But that is what journaling is all about. I have prayed and prayed and prayed each and every day for God to give me strength and wisdom of what I should be doing. I have wanted the answers yesterday if possible! I have wanted to know what God has in store for me for the future, today! I have begged Him to give me some sign of what I am supposed to do so that my future won’t be so bleak. One day, my wife shared with me a devotional from a smalll booklet. It was about positive thinking and living life to it’s fullest potential, no matter what kind of trials and tribulations we were experiencing. It was about choosing to be happy inspite of our circumstances…And I was thinkng, “Yeah, easier said than done. You’re not the one with HD.” I decided, just for kicks and giggles, to pick up a copy of the book, “Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential.” As I began to read it, tears of joy and happiness began to roll down my cheek! “Oh God, thank you so much for using this man’s book to bring back some hope to my life!” As I read page after page, I began to feel an inner strength that I had not felt in a long time. Even though my situation felt like such a lost cause, and I knew it would take some time to climb out of this hole of complete hopelessness, I felt so much peace because I know that God still wants me to do great things for him. So I am choosing to move forward, by faith not by feeling, knowing that God will take care of me each and every moment.

 Prayer

“Thank you, Lord for giving me the peace of knowing that in spite of my trials and tribulations, in spite of the challenges of my illness, I can choose to be happy and content with the life you have given me to live. Thank you. Amen”

Praying for the Miracle

“Since it is the minister’s task to make visible the first vestiges of liberation for others, he must bind his own wounds carefully in anticipation of the moment when he will be needed. He is called to be the wounded healer, the one who must look after his own wounds but at the same time be prepared to heal the wounds of others.” — Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer, p. 82
 
Philip Yancey in his book, “Prayer: Does it make any difference?” tells about two letters he received from readers who were struggling with HD. He talks about the letters in his chapter concerning physical healing. The chapter shares the struggles that people have between prayer and physical healing.

“Two different letters describe the onset of Huntington’s chorea, a nerve destroying disease that afflicts 50 percent of the carrier’s offspring and leads to a slow debilitating death. One woman first learned she carried the gene when her 37 year-old daughter came down with the disease. Now her 27 year-old son has begun to show the symptoms. He is very angry at God, she says. He knows exactly what will happen to him because for three years he has been watching his sister’s health deteriorate. Another man writes that his brother was just diagnosed with Huntington’s, which means he has a 50 percent chance. So far, he has declined to be tested. Does prayer carry any weight against a defect scripted into the genes at conception?” — pg. 249.
 

Yancey asks a very valid question. How does one pray in circumstances where a chronic illness is present and there seems to be no way out? What kind of prayer does one have? Can God reverse this illness miraculously as He had with cancer and other terminal illnesses?

I have struggled with those same questions along my journey with HD. It is possible that this can never show up? Yes it is. Is it probable? No it’s not. Is it possible that God will intervene and remove the defected gene? Yes, it is. Is it probable? No, it’s not. So how should I pray?

Henri Nouwen has given me some incredible insight into how I should deal with it. His insight into his own loneliness and woundedness helps me to understand that if I am to minister, as a chaplain, to others in their pain and suffering I have to come to terms with my own pain and suffering. If I am to be a blessing to others, then I have to bind my own wounds. My prayer then changes from “remove this illness” to “let me use this illness.” I realize that if I want to be used by God, I have to be willing to be pruned and polished. And I realize that means dealing with my own pain and suffering. I realize that means being wounded. I realize it means binding the wounds.

Even though God could use medical science to discover a cure for HD, and I believe one is not very far away, I have no illusions nor false hopes that I might see a miracle cure. But I am praying for something different. Since my illness is dependent on how quickly the onset comes, I am asking God that my miracle be holding that onset off long enough to used by Him to the fullest extent. I am praying that He will give enough intellect, mobility, love and compassion to minister to others as I visit my patients. I realize that I will have to do my part taking care of this temple so that it can used more efficiently than ever before. Instead of praying for 100,000 miles, I am praying for 350,000 miles! I am asking God to give me wisdom for making the right decisions. I am asking Him for strength for my loved ones who will have to see me go through this. I am asking Him for strength and courage for myself.

Yancey ends his chapter with a very touching story about a family who had to deal with their father’s illness (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and all the struggles he had to go through (not being able to tie his shoes, not being able to sign his name, falling and breaking his collar bone, falling in the parking lot and waiting on the ground until someone found him, not being able to eat cornflakes for breakfast anymore, not being able to put his arms around the family anymore, having trouble swallowing, not being able to hold up his head anymore). This was the first seven years of the diary. Then after seven years he found this entry:

“Lying beside Dad as he sits in his chair working for breath. Praying for peace. Wiping his nose. Rubbing his shoulders. Watching Mom love Dad. Saying goodbye. Hearing Dad express his love for Mom and his love for their life together. Watching Dad gaze heavenward and take his last quiet breath…the Lord is our shepherd.” — pg. 266

He writes that “in the midst of the man’s suffering, and their own anguish, his family was able to provide the strength and comfort that he needed in order to die gracefully.”

That is the kind of miracle I will be praying for.

Prayer

“Lord, I ask a simple prayer. If it’s your will, let the HD come late in my life so that I can minister to those who are wounded, like myself. Use me to talk about, write about, not my illness but about Your grace. And I ask that my family will have the strength and the courage to face whatever may come in the future. Amen.”

 

 

Surviving

“One of the most insidious aspects of fatalism has to do with how it leads us to resist healing. We become hostage to a discouragement that insists that nothing more can be done. Fatalism reinforces our tenacious grasp on the old. We become stubbornly unwilling to consider anything outside our narrow experience. Fatalism can lead to depression, despair, even suicide.” — Henri Nouwen
 
There is no doubt that a battle is going on in my mind. On the one hand, there is that voice that says: Why suffer through all this, just end it now? On the other hand: If you end it now, you will not make it to heaven. This is an ongoing spiritual battle. And I am aware of it. I try to rationalize suicide. This hurts too much. God will understand my pain. I don’t want to put my family and friends through this.
 
Then on the other hand, I remember taking anyone’s life, including my own, is a sin and I will not be in heaven. I remember the story of a Pastor who was in such pain that he shot himself. We would ask ourselves, how is it possible for a man of God to end his own life? I could only assume that he was in so much pain that he felt that he had no other solution.
 
My own cousin, at the age of 42 hung himself because his life had come to the point that he felt he had no other solution but to end it all. There is a battle going on the minds of each and every one of us. I believe the only reason I haven’t planned it out and done it is because it will keep me out of heaven. And that may be the wrong reason for not doing it but for the moment it is the only thing that is keeping me from doing it.
 
Have I stopped to think what it would do to my family? Yes. I do realize that it would be a cowardly thing to do and it would devastate everyone I love. But it is still in the back of my mind. At least for now. How am I dealing with it? I just pray a simple prayer asking God to put away those thoughts because I know I cannot spend eternity with Him if I do. I want to spend eternity without this pain. So I remember that the Bible promises a new heavens and new earth and that there will be no more pain and suffering; no more tears; no more illnesses; no more death (Rev. 21:1-4).
 
It has been these words that I have read in every single funeral I have conducted, including my own father’s. When I sat next to my dad in his last days, I read and reread that passage over and over again. He was under the effects of the medication and I wasn’t sure whether or not he could hear me but I could sense that something was getting through. One of my father’s biggest dreams was to travel to Europe. His father was magazine salesman and one of my father’s favorite magazine was Architectural Digest. It was filled with pictures of the most famous projects in the world, including Europe. So my father became an architect and became well-known in his birth country. He won several national awards for his architectural contributions to society. He was one of the chief designers for the Contemporary Hotel in Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. He was very good at what he did. He was passionate about his projects not because he was getting paid big bucks but because he was leaving a legacy behind that would be around for a long, long time. But one of his dreams was to go to Europe. And over the years, I tried over and over again to raise the money so he could go but I was either in college or in a position where I couldn’t help out financially. Now I was feeling guilty about not being able to accomplish his dream. So I turned to him and said, “Dad, I know we had lots of plans of going to Europe and traveling all over so that you could see all these wonderful architectural wonders and take a stroll in Paris, hop on a train to London. I am so sorry that I couldn’t give you that! But you know what, I believe that one day, you and I are going to travel all over this planet! And not only this planet, I believe we’ll travel all over the universe and see worlds that have never been tainted or damaged by sin! And we are going to have a wonderful time doing it! You will not have this illness. Your body will be whole again. And you’ll be jumping up and down out of joy and running back and forth like you 18 again! I really believe it!”
 
 
He never acknowledged whether or not he heard what I said but on the day of the resurrection, I’ll ask him. He was a true inspiration as a person. Our relationship was always close and we had a special connection that no one else had. I loved and respected him no matter he went through.

As I reflect upon his life and death, I realize that even though he was not an overly religious person, he was a man of simple faith. He did not understand all the theological terms. He would say to me, “I was born a Catholic and I will die a Catholic.” It was his simple faith that got him through each day. It was his simple faith that gave him hope for a better tomorrow. When I would talk to him over the phone he would tell through his difficult speech to understand that, “I am so blessed because God has given me another day.” Now that’s a simple faith. That’s the faith that the disciples kept asking Jesus to give to them. Here I am with over 15 years of theological training and experience and I realize none of it can give me that kind of faith. So I realize that my faith has to become like one of a little child.

“Whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” — Matt. 18:4

In his book, “A Childlike Heart: Recapture the Freedom of A Child,” Alan Wright writes,

“The disciples were certainly at this odd with this answer. They probably murmured in disappointment. They had no rights. They were nobodies. . . [He] probably couldn’t even quote the Torah. He had no ministry skills. No education. No power. No money. He probably never fasted or gave alms. How could he be great in the kingdom? What could a little child possibly know that the disciples didn’t know?. . .This boy knew that he was not in control of the world. . .Every child knows that adults are bigger, stronger and smarter. Children are not in charge of the world and they know it. That’s their key to Heaven.”
 

That’s’ the kind of faith I want to have. To know I am not in control of this world or what happens in it. That I can go to sleep each night saying, “Thank you, Lord for this day and everything that you gave to me so that I could be strengthened and blessed.” And when I wake up the next morning, to be able to say, “Thank you, Lord for another day of life. I leave all things in your hands today and I will not worry about anything that happens.” I have to confess that even though I might say them, my faith is still not like that of a little child and so I will be asking God each and every day to give me that kind of faith. A faith that will get me through each moment. A faith that will help me survive.

Prayer

“Father, I confess that I have not had the kind of faith like of a child. I realize that unless my faith is childlike I will not be able to survive this crisis. I need that kind of faith. Please give it to me today and everyday. Amen.”

 

 

Getting Back to Work

“One of life’s greatest questions centers not on what happens to us, but rather, how will we live in and through whatever happens. . .Our choice, then revolves around not what has happened or will happen to us, but how we will relate to life’s turns and circumstances.” — Henri Nouwen
 
I got my test results on Thursday and on Friday I had to be back to work visiting patients. I did not want to sit at home and think about what was happening to me. I needed to stay busy. When the employees of the hospital lost their loved ones and they were back at work after a couple of days, I was always recommend that they stay busy but not overdo it. They would all say that if they stay at home, they would be depressed and think about their loved ones day after day. Now I understood what they were talking about.
 
I visited my patients like I normally would and tried to keep a happy face around the staff as well so that they would not suspect that something was wrong. But it was impossible. A couple of the employees noticed that something was not right and asked me if I was ok. I told them I was struggling with a cold. Some of them believed it. Others did not. “There’s something else wrong, Chaplain. We can tell.”
 
I have always wore my feelings on my sleeves and this was not going to be the exception. Whenever anything happened, good or bad, I would always let it be a part of my day. Whenever good things happened, I would share with everybody. Whenever bad things happened, I would be more calm or wear a sad face. I am normally a very happy-go-lucky type of person who tries to see the good in everything. I like to joke around with everyone and don’t mind it all when they joke around with me. Humor can be a very therapeutic. Especially when we laugh at ourselves. However, humor can be used in the wrong way: sarcasm or to put someone down. This is not good for anyone and can actually be very damaging emotionally to the other person. I won’t get into the why people use these kinds of humor because that’s not the purpose of this journal. But sufficient to say, that people have been very hurt and they have learned it from someone else, usually one the parents. It’s their way of keeping their true emotions and feelings at a distance, especially their pain.
 
But when humor is used in the proper way, it can actually be very healing. I once listened to a sermon by Joni Ericson Tada, a paraplegic Christian woman who lost her ability to walk and partial movements in her arms, where she said “would not be a very good Pentecostal because she couldn’t move her arms around” and the congregation laughed so hard they could hardly stop. But she also said after she gets raised again in the resurrection, with a new body, she will “jump and run and move her arms around” and join all the Pentecostals in the worship service! She had the congregation in tears! In her condition, she sings, preaches, writes books and even paints with her mouth. Her paintings are so good you would never know that someone painted them with their mouth. In all my pastoral counseling with patients who lose their ability to move, I share the story of Joni Erickson Tada, so that they can see what happened to someone like them and she made a choice to fight and not give up. But if you read her story, you would discover that she did not start out that way. One day laying in her hospital bed not feeling anything, she begged her best friend to cut her wrists and let her die. Obviously she didn’t but today she’s happier than every before. In fact, she tells everyone that she never “knew” Jesus until this happened to her. Someone reminded her that when Jesus was also a paraplegic. When she questioned how that was possible, they mentioned that when He hung on the cross, He could not move His arms or legs. And that He let them do it to Him so that He could conquer death and raise those from the dead with a new body just like His, free from illness and death. After that she saw illness as a gift and not a curse!
 
It will be a while before humor becomes a part of my healing process. I do watch funny shows on TV and I love a good romantic comedy. There are some good websites that are humorous.
 
Yesterday, I told both of my bosses about it. I had really been praying about whether or not to do that. If this had been any other job in any other organization then I would have never shared it with them. But this is Christian organization and both of my bosses are Chaplains. And they reacted exactly the way I expected them too: understanding and compassionate. One of my bosses said that he wished he could be here for me so that we could meet immediately. But he was in Puerto Rico doing some seminars. I shared with him that I was sharing this with him because he was not only my boss but also a very good friend and that I knew he would never abandon me. I cried. And he prayed for me. He asked if he could share with my other boss and I agreed. Then he called and we prayed and we are meeting on Tuesday of next week to talk about this and see what is best for me and the organization. He told me that I have the full support of both of them. God is so good! So merciful! If I ever lost my job, I don’t know what I would do. My job is the one fulfilling thing I have in life!

It has been a week since I got the test results. I have called the neurologists to ask for antidepressants and started taking them last night. Marcie from the HD Research Clinic called me yesterday to see how I was doing. We talked for a couple of minutes. And she was a lot of help.

I am still dealing with this overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and I can’t shake it. I spent almost two days sleeping and not wanting to go to work or going to work and just closing my door and sleeping on the couch for a couple of minutes before going on the floors. Only yesterday did I muster enough strength to venture out on all the floors. I felt so much better that I did not want to go back to my office. As I became visible to the staff, they began asking me to see this patient and that patient, which I gladly did. Then I was called to the ED to minister to a family who found out that their 25 year old daughter has a brain tumor. As I sat in the quiet room with them, I could feel their pain as I remembered how it felt when I got the news. The same happened with a family in L/D where a family just had a baby girl and she diagnosed with a terrible cell disorder and would probably not last for more than a couple of months. Their pain was horrible. I was entering into the world of hopelessness and helplessness of other people and I was going in with just my presence. I had no words of wisdom. I had no special scripture. I had nothing. I was just as drained. I just said that I was so sorry and that I could imagine their pain. I would pray for God’s presence in their lives and that He would walk with them during this terrible journey; that He would be their strength. While I prayed it, I was praying it for myself. Now I could understand Henri Nouwen’s label of “the wounded healer.”

“Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” — Phil. 4:6,7
 
Prayer

Father, You know that I can not do this alone. I am still dealing with these feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. There are days that the I just don’t want to get out bed and it hurts so much that I just want to end it all. I cannot do this alone! I need Your strength. I need Your peace. I need You. Amen